We caught another mouse! I shot a movie of its release.
Like the previous mouse we'd caught, it was nervous about coming out
of the trap: it poked its nose out, but didn't want to come the rest
of the way.
Dave finally got impatient, picked up the trap and turned it opening down,
so the mouse would slide out.
It turned out to be the world's scruffiest mouse, which immediately
darted toward me. I had to step back and stand up to follow it on camera.
(Yes, I know my camera technique needs work. Sorry.)
Then it headed up the hill a ways before finally lapsing into the
high-bounding behavior we've seen from other mice and rats we've released.
I know it's hard to tell in the last picture -- the photo is so small --
but look at the distance between the mouse and its shadow on the ground.
Very entertaining! I don't understand why anyone uses killing traps --
even if you aren't bothered by killing things unnecessarily, the
entertainment we get from watching the releases is worth any slight
extra hassle of using the live traps.
Here's the movie:
[ 17:10 Aug 20, 2014
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One great thing about living in the country: the wildlife.
I love watching animals and trying to photograph them.
One down side of living in the country: the wildlife.
Mice in the house! Pack rats in the shed and the crawlspace!
We found out pretty quickly that we needed to learn about traps.
We looked at traps at the local hardware store. Dave assumed we'd get
simple snap-traps, but I wanted to try other options first.
I'd prefer to avoid killing if I don't have to, especially killing in
what sounds like a painful way.
They only had one live mousetrap. It was a flimsy plastic thing,
and we were both skeptical that it would work.
We made a deal: we'd try two of them for a week or two, and when (not
if) they didn't work, then we'd get some snap-traps.
We baited the traps with peanut butter and left them in the areas where
we'd seen mice. On the second morning, one of the traps had
been sprung, and sure enough, there was a mouse inside! Or at least a
bit of fur, bunched up at the far inside end of the trap.
We drove it out to open country across the highway, away from houses.
I opened the trap, and ... nothing.
I looked in -- yep, there was still a furball in there. Had we somehow
killed it, even in this seemingly humane trap?
I pointed the open end down and shook the trap. Nothing came out.
I shook harder, looked again, shook some more.
And suddenly the mouse burst out of the plastic box
and went HOP-HOP-HOPping across the grass away from us,
bounding like a tiny kangaroo over tufts of grass,
leaving us both giggling madly.
The entertainment alone was worth the price of the traps.
Since then we've seen no evidence of mice inside, and neither of the
traps has been sprung again. So our upstairs and downstairs mice must
have been the same mouse.
But meanwhile, we still had a pack rat problem (actually, probably,
white-throated woodrats, the creature that's called a pack rat locally).
Finding no traps for sale at the hardware store, we went to Craigslist,
where we found a retired wildlife biologist just down the road
selling three live Havahart rat traps. (They also had some raccoon-sized
traps, but the only raccoon we've seen has stayed out in the yard.)
We bought the traps, adjusted one a bit where its trigger mechanism
was bent, baited them with peanut butter and set them in likely locations.
About four days later, we had our first captive little brown furball.
Much smaller than some of the woodrats we've seen; probably just a youngster.
We drove quite a bit farther than we had for the mouse. Woodrats can
apparently range over a fairly wide area, and we didn't want to let it
go near houses. We hiked a little way out on a trail, put the trap down
and opened both doors. The woodrat looked up, walked to one open end
of the trap, decided that looked too scary; walked to the other open
end, decided that looked too scary too; and retreated back to the
middle of the trap.
We had to tilt and shake the trap a bit, but eventually the woodrat
gathered up its courage, chose a side, darted out and
HOP-HOP-HOPped away into the bunchgrass, just like the mouse had.
No reference I've found says anything about woodrats hopping,
but the mouse did that too.
I guess hopping is just what you do when you're a rodent suddenly set free.
I was only able to snap one picture before it disappeared.
It's not in focus,
but at least I managed to catch it with both hind legs off the ground.
[ 12:05 Jul 12, 2014
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